Property owners often seek to increase the value of their homes by adding extensions or making other alterations. However, it is crucial to obtain the necessary permissions, approvals, and consent before starting any major works. This article will guide you through the permissions you may need and the consequences of carrying out alterations without appropriate consent.
Who Needs to Give Permission?
Local planning authorities grant planning permission, which is typically required for substantial extensions, new structures, or changes in property use. To apply for planning permission, visit your local planning authority’s website.
Building Regulations Approval
Building Regulations approval is required for larger alterations like extensions, loft conversions, and new windows and doors. This approval is granted by your local authority building control department. You can find more information about Building Regulations on the UK Government website.
Leasehold Property Alterations
For leasehold properties (e.g. flats), your lease may require obtaining your landlord’s consent before making alterations. This is because substantial work on your flat could affect the rest of the building. Your landlord should not unreasonably withhold consent. The terms of your lease will determine the alterations requiring consent, which may range from fitting a new kitchen to exterior property changes.
Consequences of Non-compliance
Planning Permission Breaches
If you failed to make a planning application, you can usually submit a retrospective application. However, if your planning application fails and you continue the work, or if you don’t comply with the permission conditions, you may receive an enforcement notice. This notice requires you to return the property to its original state or carry out works to comply with planning permission terms. Failure to comply is an offence, and you could face a steep fine.
Building Regulations Non-compliance
The building control department can issue an enforcement notice for works that don’t comply with Building Regulations. You may be required to remove or alter non-compliant work. Alternatively, you could be prosecuted in the magistrates’ court for deliberate contraventions of Building Regulations, resulting in a hefty fine if convicted.
If you fail to obtain your landlord’s consent for alterations, they have several options for remediation. They could issue court proceedings for an injunction, requiring you to stop works and reinstate the property. Additionally, they may claim damages or initiate forfeiture proceedings, where the court could terminate your lease and cause you to lose your property interest.
Importance of Compliance
Unauthorised alterations, planning breaches, and other non-compliant actions may affect your ability to sell your property in the future and could breach your mortgage terms. To protect yourself from costly disputes, we recommend seeking specialist advice before carrying out alterations and ensuring all consents and permissions are obtained before starting work. For legal advice, visit Levi Solicitors.
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